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Jenkins: Recognizing Republicans' dubious achievements

jim.jenkins@newsobserver.comFebruary 26, 2014 

In the old days of Esquire Magazine, the most anticipated issue was the one containing the “Dubious Achievement Awards,” wherein the gaffes and stumbles of the famous and powerful and yes, sometimes those of questionable ... er...judgment were noted with a headline as the punchline and the explanation coming thereafter.

If any time in North Carolina’s political history has warranted the rebirth of Dubious Achievement Awards, it is now. The Democrats can’t shoot straight, the Republicans can’t shoot straight and the rest of us are innocent bystanders.

They write themselves.

“And, I’m just more of a cat person, anyway.” State Sen. Bill Rabon of Southport tells a room full of activists and lobbyists why he and others killed off a bill supported by Gov. “Pleasant Pat” McCrory and his wife to curb industrial strength “puppy mills.” In a sometimes raised voice and with a little profanity for effect, Rabon talks about what a big shot he is over on Jones Street, while putting down a governor of the same party.

“Also, we had Elvis over at the mansion for dinner last night.” Gov. McCrory stumbles when he implies in an interview that he had gone out and mingled with Moral Monday protesters, when that wasn’t exactly right.

“Reading, writing, math, history, science. We don’t know any of that, and we’re running the entire doggone state!” Republicans make a political target of public school teachers, which backfires.

“Mr. Speaker, I have an addition to the amendment. We will have all gay people and Moral Monday protesters fed to lions every other Saturday.” Republicans push through a referendum for a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, even though there is a law on the books already and public sentiment is going in the opposite direction.

“By golly, if that danged Roosevelt had used our strategy, we’d have been out of the Depression in 60 or 80 years!”Republicans in the General Assembly support denying Medicaid expansion and extended unemployment benefits to North Carolinians despite the fact that the federal government would cover the costs.

“And this guy’s the moderate in the race.” State House Speaker Thom Tillis, filing for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate, says a minimum wage hike is a “dangerous idea.” Unfortunately, a major of poll respondents say they want a hike to $10 an hour.

“The tipoff was when I could walk across the river, although my feet did get a little dirty.”A Duke Energy coal ash spill that could have threatened water quality prompts all sorts of investigations, and some embarrassment for the governor, who is, like some of his associates, a former Duke Energy employee.

“We got to it when we could. We were busy getting all the deregulation in place and trying to get in nine holes before dark.” Questions arise as to whether the governor’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources responded quickly enough to the coal ash problem.

“In fact, I have so much confidence in Aldona, next week I’m putting DHHS in charge of nuclear stockpiles.” Gov. McCrory’s secretary of Health and Human Services, Aldona Wos, a major Republican fundraiser, comes under fire for problems with computers, food stamp programs, Medicaid and controversial hirings. McCrory continues to state his support for her.

“Now, stand on your left foot, recite the ‘Gettysburg Address’ and then the Preamble to the Constitution. Now, let’s get your blood and fingerprints. And ... you’ve already paid the poll tax, right?” Republicans in the General Assembly pass measures on voter ID and others likely to curb participation in elections by minorities, college students and other groups inclined to vote Democratic.

“Yes, you live in Wilmington, but your polling place is in West Asheville. You got a problem with that? Maybe you’d like to have us send Sen. Rabon over for a little chat.”Republicans gerrymander legislative and congressional districts in redistricting to ensure Republican domination for a long time.

“Here’s the plan. Roy Cooper runs in 2016 and 2020. Then, we bring Jim Hunt back in 2020 and 2024. He’ll only be 97 then, and he looks real good.” North Carolina’s Democratic Party stumbles along with division and disorganization.

Deputy editorial page editor Jim Jenkins can be reached at 919-829-4513 or at jjenkins@newsobserver.com.

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